Dag Sinterklaas

One of the great things about living in a different country and being immersed in a new culture, is learning about and sometimes adopting new traditions. Belgium’s Sinterklaas celebration is something we have well and truly adopted and I suspect is a ritual we will enact for many years to come.

Our little Sinterklaas corner.
Our little Sinterklaas corner.

Last night was Sinterklaas eve and, just as we did in Belgium, the girls left a shoe by the fireplace with some treats for Sinterklaas, Piet and the horse known as Slecht-Weer-Vandag or Bad Weather Today!

Edie left a carrot, speculaas cookie and a juice box.
Edie left a carrot, speculaas cookie and a juice box.
Olive chose an apple, some speculaas and a bottle of beer for Sinterklaas.
Olive chose an apple, some speculaas and a bottle of beer for Sinterklaas.

Once the girls were safely tucked up in bed, Sinterklaas made his visit, polishing off the yummy nibbles and leaving a couple of treats for the girls.

Belgian tradition meets American tradition as Elf on the Shelf joins in.
Belgian tradition meets American tradition as Elf on the Shelf joins in.
Happy with their gifts from Sinterklaas.
Happy with their gifts from Sinterklaas.

Yesterday I whipped up a batch of speculaas cookies and the girls each took a tin to school today to share with their friends and even promised to sing the Sinterklaas song.

Speculaas cookies - a very important part of the Sinterklaas tradition.
Speculaas cookies – a very important part of the Sinterklaas tradition.
Off to teach her class all about Sinterklaas.
Off to teach her class all about Sinterklaas.
Edie spent much of last night practising her Sinterklaas song!
Edie spent much of last night practising her Sinterklaas song!

Adults who are reading, if you are interested in finding out more about Sinterklaas, and having a laugh whilst doing so, click here┬áto listen to the wonderful American humorist and columnist David Sedaris giving his take on the Sinterklaas celebrations he observed in the Netherlands. It’s about fifteen minutes long but well worth a listen.

Take care everyone. Stay tuned for more festive fun!

’tis the season

When we moved to the United States, I was well aware that we were in for a great deal of changes and new experiences. One of the more pressing was the inevitable raising of the bar when it comes to Christmas decor – both inside and outside the house.

It seemed that the Thanksgiving dishes had barely been cleared away and the Christmas decorations started to appear. Our first inkling of just how impressive things get around here was Olive shrieking just as it began to grow dark on Friday evening. She hadn’t fallen, had a fright or been harassed by her sister…no…she had just noticed the Christmas lights that had appeared on one of the houses across the street. Gulp! It was another one of those “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” moments.

Every day something new has appeared and it’s not just happening in our street. All over town an array of lights, wreaths, ribbons, garlands and beloved Christmas characters are making their appearance on windows, doors, front lawns…even letterboxes.

From stately and grand (not to mention enormous!)…
to comic and fun.

To appease the girls, we have added a modest array of twinkly lights to some of our bushes. Although if I am being completely honest, I’m pretty happy to have them there! I always knew a US Christmas was going to be so much more visually than what we experienced in New Zealand and in Belgium and I’m just going to climb on and enjoy the ride. Driving into town tonight to watch the Winchester Christmas Parade – blog to follow in a couple of days – Richard narrowly missed hitting parked cars several times as our gazes were drawn to the most dazzling adornments on many of the houses. And this is only the beginning!

I’m going to try and get some more photos but getting back behind the wheel of a car does hamper one’s photographic moments. I do miss the ease at which I could pedal along, stop my bike and whip out my camera. Sigh!

You may have noticed that I’ve been tinkering with the look and layout of my blog. I hope you like it. I took the picture of the sign post pointing to America when we visited the Frontier Culture Museum some weeks back, and I knew it had to be a part of the blog. I’ve also updated a couple of the sections under the Read tab and I’ve finally posted something under the Make tab.

Take care everyone and a very special Happy Birthday to my nephew Matthew. Have a great day – we miss you xxx

Croadworks ahead!

If you’ve stumbled across this page – welcome. I’m in the process of creating a new blog about our family’s move to Winchester, VA in August 2012. Check back then to start sharing our adventures.